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The benefits of biodiversity: a novel approach to preventing asthma and allergy?

Asthma and allergies are a considerable public-health burden, and there is no cure or effective prevention. However, there is increasing evidence showing that proximity to a natural environment may be protective. The aim of the proposed research programme is to increase understanding of the roles of environmental biodiversity/green space, microbiota, and host immunity in protection against asthma/allergy. The ultimate goal is to facilitate the development of novel interventions and prevention strategies.

This programme will:

(i) assess interactions between vegetation diversity, environmental and human microbiota, and immunity in schoolchildren

(ii) establish an infant cohort examining early life links between vegetation diversity, microbiota, and allergies

(iii) assess the effects of short-term biodiverse exposures on asthma, microbiota, and immunity.